Book Clubbin’ – 10 Discussion Questions for Ask Again, Yes

Welcome to our new blog feature — Book clubbin’! We know that many of you (and us in the Audiobooks.com office!) are in book clubs, and so it seemed an obvious thing to blog about.

In the clubs I’m in (Yes, plural. I have a bit of an addiction) a lot of us are busy parents, have challenging jobs, or just have generally hectic lives, so listening to audiobook versions of the novel can be really useful. You can squeeze your book club choices into your commute, listen while you work, or even when your baby is napping (HAH!).

Every month we’ll pick a popular book club pick, and set up some discussion questions to get you and your book club going. This month, we’ve got questions for Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane, which was recently voted the Tonight Show Annual Summer Book Club Read. This is a really intense and awesome listen, with in-depth characters, and a lot to talk about. So here are our Ask Again, Yes book club questions!

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1. This novel has been described as a “Domestic” novel. Do you feel that’s the right genre for this novel? Why or why not?

2. Ask Again, Yes is told from the perspective of many different characters (Kate, Peter, Francis etc.). How do you think this adds to the development of the story?

3. The title Ask Again, Yes references the discussion Kate and Peter have at the end of the book. Do you feel that it applies to any other characters?

4. How are mental health and addiction issues portrayed in the novel? Do the characters’ experiences differ due to the era they grow up in?

5. Who do you think is the most sympathetic character in the book? Who is the least likable?

6. When Francis discovers Anne at Peter and Kate’s house, are you surprised at how calm he is? Or is this in line with his character?

7. The theme of history repeating itself is central to this novel. Which characters most fall into these patterns? Are there characters that don’t?

8. Kate, Lena, and Anne are very different women. How is the role of the traditional wife and mother portrayed in this novel?

9. The shooting changes the lives of almost everyone in the novel. How different do you think the following relationships would have been had it never happened? i) Kate and Peter ii) Lena and Francis iii) Anne and Brian.

10. What do you think the future holds for Kate and Peter?

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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Spice Up Your Commute – Audiobooks.com Now Integrated With Waze!

Let’s be real, nobody likes sitting in traffic. That’s why a lot of Audiobooks.com subscribers love listening while they’re in the car, so that they can stay entertained from point A to point B. Now, you can have over 150,000 audiobooks at your fingertips while also avoiding traffic using Waze!

We are SO excited to announce our new partnership with Waze! Now, our members can seamlessly listen to your audiobooks through the Waze navigation app. Ready to hit the road with the wind in your hair and your favorite audiobook as your soundtrack? Let’s get you set up!


Set-Up Instructions

1. Open up Waze and type in your destination. A music note symbol will appear in the top right corner, click that symbol.

2. A menu will drop-down allowing you to select your audio app. Select Audiobooks.com.


3. After selecting Audiobooks.com a pop-up will confirm that you’d like to open the Audiobooks.com app. Select “Open.”

4. The Audiobooks.com app will automatically open after which it will bring you back to Waze with a pop-up that explains what info Waze and Audiobooks.com will share. Simply click “Accept” to finish the process.


5. Whatever audiobook you’re listening to will now appear along with the audio controls. And that’s it, you’re all set!

Happy listening and driving with our latest partner, Waze!



New to Audiobooks.com? Get 2 free audiobooks when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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July’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to last month’s most popular fiction and non-fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.

Fiction:

Under Currents by Nora Roberts, narrated by January Lavoy

Publisher Summary:

For both Zane and Darby, their small town roots hold a terrible secret. Now, decades later, they’ve come together to build a new life. But will the past set them free or pull them under?

Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back…

Years later, Zane returns to his hometown determined to reconnect with the place and people that mean so much to him, despite the painful memories. As he resumes life in the colorful town, he meets a gifted landscape artist named Darby, who is on the run from ghosts of her own.

Together they will have to teach each other what it means to face the past, and stand up for the ones they love.

Read more and sample the audio →

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, narrated by Julia Whelan, Linda Holmes

Publisher Summary:

From the host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast comes a heartfelt debut about the unlikely relationship between a young woman who’s lost her husband and a major league pitcher who’s lost his game.

In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband’s death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn’t correct them.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher and Andy’s childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why. As the media storm heats up, an invitation from Andy to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button on Dean’s future.

When he moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. To move forward, Evvie and Dean will have to reckon with their pasts—the friendships they’ve damaged, the secrets they’ve kept—but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance—up until the last out.

A joyful, hilarious, and hope-filled debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over will have you cheering for the two most unlikely comebacks of the year—and will leave you wanting more from Linda Holmes.

Read more and sample the audio →

The New Girl by Daniel Silva, narrated by George Guidall

Publisher Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva comes a stunning new thriller of vengeance, deception, and betrayal.

At an exclusive private school in Switzerland, mystery surrounds the identity of the beautiful girl who arrives each morning and leaves each afternoon in a heavily protected motorcade fit for a head of state. She is said to be the daughter of a wealthy international businessman. She is not. And when she is brutally kidnapped across the border in the Haute-Savoie region of France, Gabriel Allon, the legendary chief of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a deadly secret war with an old enemy that will determine the future of the Middle East-and perhaps the world . . .

Read more and sample the audio →

One Good Deed by David Baldacci, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

Publisher Summary:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces an unforgettable new character: Archer, a straight-talking former World War II soldier fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

It’s 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of do’s and a much longer list of don’ts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don’t go to bars, certainly don’t drink alcohol, do get a job–and don’t ever associate with loose women. The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer’s years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment–and a stiff drink–leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman. Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won’t be so easy. The indebted man has a furious grudge against Hank and refuses to pay; Hank’s clever mistress has her own designs on Archer; and both Hank and Archer’s stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him. When a murder takes place right under Archer’s nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realizes that the crime could send him right back to prison . . . if he doesn’t use every skill in his arsenal to track down the real killer.

Read more and sample the audio →

Backlash by Brad Thor, narrated by Armand Schultz

Publisher Summary:

In ancient texts, there are stories about men who struck from the shadows, seemingly beyond the reach of death itself. These men were considered part angel, part demon. Their loyalty was to their families, their friends, and their kings. You crossed these men at your peril. And once crossed, there was no crossing back.

They were fearless; men of honor who have been known throughout history by different names: Spartan, Viking, Samurai.

Today, men like these still strike from the shadows. They are highly prized intelligence agents, military operatives, and assassins.

One man is all three.

Two days ago, that man was crossed—badly.

Now, far from home and surrounded by his enemy, Scot Harvath must battle his way out.

With no support, no cavalry coming, and no one even aware of where he is, it will take everything he has ever learned to survive.

But survival isn’t enough. Harvath wants revenge.

In the most explosive novel Brad Thor has ever written, page after captivating page of action, intrigue, loyalty, and betrayal will keep you hooked until the very last sentence.

Read more and sample the audio →

Non-Fiction:

The Pioneers by David Mccullough, narrated by John Bedford Llyod

Publisher Summary:

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler’s son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as floods, fires, wolves and bears, no roads or bridges, no guarantees of any sort, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough’s subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them.

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough’s signature narrative energy.

Read more and sample the audio → 

Best Self: Be You, Only Better by Mike Bayer, narrated by Phil Mcgraw, Mike Bayer

Publisher Summary:

Ask yourself…are you truly who you want to be? Is this the life you really want? Are you living each day as your best self? What can you change, today? How would you answer those questions?

Think about your daily life. Are you thriving, or going through the motions? Are your days full of work, relationships and activities that are true to your authentic self, or do you feel trapped on a treadmill of responsibility? If you dream of a better life, now is the time to turn your dream into reality. And the tools you need are within your grasp, to design a life that is fulfilling on the deepest levels. Best Self will show you how.

Mike Bayer, known to the thousands of clients whose lives he has changed as Coach Mike, has helped everyone from pop stars to business executives to people just like you discover the freedom to be their best selves. By asking them and leading them to ask themselves a series of important but tough questions-such as “What are your core values?” “Do you go to bed each day more knowledgeable than when you woke up?” and “Am I neglecting some aspect of my physical health out of fear or denial?”-he helps them see what their Best Selves and Anti-Selves really look like. As a mental health specialist, a personal development coach, and an all-around change agent, Mike has seen the amazing ways in which lives can improve with honesty and clarity. He understands our struggles intimately, because he’s faced-and overcome-his own. And he knows that change is possible.

By working through each of the Seven SPHERES of life-Social, Personal, Health, Education, Relationships, Employment and Spiritual Development-Best Self is an accessible and interactive book that distills all of Coach Mike’s wisdom into a compact, focused guide that will ignite anyone’s desire for change. Chock full of revealing quizzes, and full of provocative questionnaires, Best Self will empower you to embrace your authenticity, acknowledge what is holding you back, and break through to live a passionate life to the fullest, forever.

Read more and sample the audio → 

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz, narrated by Michael Kramer

Publisher Summary:

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations-whether in the boardroom or at home.

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles-counterintuitive tactics and strategies-you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.

Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car, negotiating a salary, buying a home, renegotiating rent, deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.

Read more and sample the audio →

Girl, Stop Apologizing:A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis

Publisher Summary:

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough.

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

Read more and sample the audio → 

Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson, narrated by Mark Manson

Publisher Summary:

In Everthing Is F*cked, Manson turns his gaze from the inevitable flaws within each individual self to the endless calamities taking place in the world around us. Drawing from the pool of psychological research on these topics, as well as the timeless wisdom of philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, he dissects religion and politics and the uncomfortable ways they have come to resemble one another. He looks at our relationships with money, entertainment and the internet, and how too much of a good thing can psychologically eat us alive. He openly defies our definitions of faith, happiness, freedom—and even of hope itself.

With his usual mix of erudition and where-the-f*ck-did-that-come-from humor, Manson takes us by the collar and challenges us to be more honest with ourselves and connected with the world in ways we probably haven’t considered before. It’s another counterintuitive romp through the pain in our hearts and the stress of our soul. 

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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Summer Listens for Pre-Teens and Teens

According to audiopub.org, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” Listening to audiobooks increases reading accuracy by 52% and improves comprehension by 76%.

Why not promote learning by choosing a fun story below that your children can listen to. You can listen to a sample and read the descriptions below to chose the right book for your child.

Great Listens for Pre-Teens

The Lifters by Dave Eggers, narrated by Dion Graham

Publisher Summary:

Journey to an underground world where adventure awaits and heroes are made in this middle grade novel from the bestselling, Pulitzer-nominated author of The Monk of Mokha and Her Right Foot.

When Gran and his family move to Carousel, he has no idea that the town is built atop a secret. Little does he suspect, as he walks his sister to school or casually eats a banana, that mysterious forces lurk mere inches beneath his feet, tearing up the earth like mini-hurricanes and causing the town to slowly but surely sink.

When Gran’s friend, the difficult-to-impress Catalina Catalan, presses a silver handle into a hillside and opens a doorway to underground, he knows that she is extraordinary and brave, and that he will have no choice but to follow wherever she leads. With luck on their side, and some discarded hockey sticks for good measure, Gran and Catalina might just find a way to lift their town–and the known world–out of danger.

In The Lifters, critically acclaimed author Dave Eggers establishes himself as a storyteller who can entertain and inspire readers of any age.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Whispers by Greg Howard, narrated by Robin Miles, Kivlighan De Montebello

Publisher Summary:

A middle grade debut that’s a heartrending coming-of-age tale, perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Counting By 7s.

Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes. Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home. She disappeared a few months ago, and Riley is determined to crack the case. He even meets with a detective, Frank, to go over his witness statement time and time again. 

Frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation, Riley decides to take matters into his own hands. So he goes on a camping trip with his friend Gary to find the whispers and ask them to bring his mom back home. But Riley doesn’t realize the trip will shake the foundation of everything that he believes in forever.

Read more and sample the audio →

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, narrated by Adam Grupper

Publisher Summary:

This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.

Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making.

In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Oddmire: Changeling by William Ritter, narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross

Publisher Summary:

The first book in an action-packed fantasy adventure series featuring witches, shape-shifters, and other creatures of fairytale and folklore, including two brothers-one human and one a goblin changeling-on a life-changing quest into the Oddmire.

Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind-a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind. Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.

Read more and sample the audio →

Great Listens for Teenagers

Eve of Man by Tom Fletcher, Giovanna Fletcher, narrated by Josh Dylan, Charlotte Ritchie

Publisher Summary:

She survived against all odds. The first girl born in fifty years. They called her EVE.

Scythe meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this gripping new dystopian trilogy written by UK-bestselling authors Tom and Giovanna Fletcher.

On the first day, no one really noticed. All those babies wrapped in blue blankets–not a pink one in sight. On the third day, people were scared–a statistic-defying abundance of blue. Not just entire hospitals, not only entire countries, but the entire world. Boys. Only boys.

Until Eve. The only girl born in fifty years. The savior of mankind. Kept protected, towering above a ruined world under a glass dome of safety until she is ready to renew the human race.

But when the time comes to find a suitor, Eve and Bram–a young man whose job is to prepare Eve for this moment–begin to question the plan they’ve known all along. Eve doesn’t only want safety, and she doesn’t only want protection. She wants the truth. She wants freedom.

Read more and sample the audio →

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen, narrated by Dominic Hoffman, Sullivan Jones

Publisher Summary:

Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller—the first in a trilogy—that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae.

What would you be willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune?

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Read more and sample the audio →

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian, narrated by Lauren Ambrose, Vikas Adam, Michael Crouch

Publisher Summary:

It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart-and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.

This is a bighearted, sprawling epic about friendship and love and the revolutionary act of living life to the fullest in the face of impossible odds.

Read more and sample the audio →

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman, narrated by Kim Mai Guest

Publisher Summary:

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

NOBODY PANIC.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

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Audiobooks You Can Sink Your Teeth Into – Shark Week 2019

Since July 17, 1988, Shark Week has been featured every summer (around July or August) on the Discovery Channel to bring awareness to sharks, focused and dedicated to conservation efforts and to correct the misconceptions humans have about the shark species. Below is a mix of educational and fun audiobooks about sharks to enhance this years’ Shark Week experience.

A few fun facts about sharks from National Geographic:

1. “Thirty years ago the blockbuster Jaws brought the terror of shark attack to movie theaters. The record-breaking film, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, grossed nearly 130 million dollars (U.S.) in the United States alone.”

2. “Sharks are among Earth’s most ancient animals. The fossil record dates ancestors of modern sharks to as far back as 400 million years ago. Shark species have changed relatively little during that time span and are sometimes called living fossils.”

3. “While sharks kill fewer than 20 people a year, their own numbers suffer greatly at human hands. Between 20 and 100 million sharks die each year due to fishing activity, according to data from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File. The organization estimates that some shark populations have plummeted 30 to 50 percent.”

Our Top 7 Book Suggestions:

Emperors of the Deep by William McKeever, narrated by Tim Andres Pabon

Publisher Summary:

In this remarkable groundbreaking book, a documentarian and conservationist, determined to dispel misplaced fear and correct common misconceptions, explores in-depth the secret lives of sharks—magnificent creatures who play an integral part in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans and ultimately the planet.

From the Jaws blockbusters to Shark Week, we are conditioned to see sharks as terrifying cold-blooded underwater predators. But as Safeguard the Seas founder William McKeever reveals, sharks are evolutionary marvels essential to maintaining a balanced ecosystem. We can learn much from sharks, he argues, and our knowledge about them continues to grow. The first book to reveal in full the hidden lives of sharks, Emperors of the Deep examines four species—Mako, Tiger, Hammerhead, and Great White—as never before, and includes fascinating details such as:

Sharks are 50-million years older than trees; Sharks have survived five extinction level events, including the one that killed off the dinosaurs;Sharks have electroreception, a sixth-sense that lets them pick up on electric fields generated by living things;Sharks can dive 4,000 feet below the surface; Sharks account for only 6 human fatalities per year, while humans kill 100 million sharks per year. McKeever goes back through time to probe the shark’s pre-historic secrets and how it has become the world’s most feared and most misunderstood predator, and takes us on a pulse-pounding tour around the world and deep under the water’s surface, from the frigid waters of the Arctic Circle to the coral reefs of the tropical Central Pacific, to see sharks up close in their natural habitat. He also interviews ecologists, conservationists, and world-renowned shark experts, including the founders of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, the head of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, and the self-professed “last great shark hunter.”

At once a deep-dive into the misunderstood world of sharks and an urgent call to protect them, Emperors of the Deep celebrates this wild species that hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of the ocean—if we can prevent their extinction from climate change and human hunters.

Read more and sample the audio →

Jaws by Peter Benchley, narrated by Erik Steele

Publisher Summary:

Jaws is the classic, blockbuster thriller that inspired the three-time Academy Award-winning Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again – or for the first time! Jaws was #48 in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies, and the film earned the coveted #1 spot on the Bravo network’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments countdown. This timeless tale of man-eating terror that spawned a movie franchise, two video games, a Universal Studios theme park attraction, and two musicals is finally available on audio for the first time ever!

Read more and sample the audio →

Demon Fish by Juliet Eilperin, narrated by Bernadette Dunne

Publisher Summary:

A group of traders huddles around a pile of dried shark fins on a gleaming white floor in Hong Kong. A Papua New Guinean elder shoves off in his hand-carved canoe, ready to summon a shark with ancient magic. A scientist finds a rare shark in Indonesia and forges a deal with villagers so it and other species can survive.

In this eye-opening adventure that spans the globe, Juliet Eilperin investigates the fascinating ways different individuals and cultures relate to the ocean’s top predator. Along the way, she reminds us why, after millions of years, sharks remain among nature’s most awe-inspiring creatures.

From Belize to South Africa, from Shanghai to Bimini, we see that sharks are still the object of an obsession that may eventually lead to their extinction. This is why movie stars and professional athletes go shark hunting in Miami and why shark’s fin soup remains a coveted status symbol in China. Yet we also see glimpses of how people and sharks can exist alongside one another: surfers tolerating their presence off Cape Town and ecotourists swimming with sharks that locals in the Yucatán no longer have to hunt.

With a reporter’s instinct for a good story and a scientist’s curiosity, Eilperin offers us an up-close understanding of these extraordinary, mysterious creatures in the most entertaining and illuminating shark encounter you’re likely to find outside a steel cage.

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The Meg by Steve Alten, narrated by Sean Runnette

Publisher Summary:

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists-Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds.

Written off as a crackpot suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Taylor refuses to forget the depths that nearly cost him his life. With a PhD in paleontology under his belt, Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub.

Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined, and what he finds could turn the tides bloody red until the end of time.

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The Devil’s Teeth by Susan Casey, narrated by Kimberly Farr

Publisher Summary:

Travel thirty miles north, south, or east of San Francisco city hall and you’ll be engulfed in a landscape of thick traffic, fast enterprise, and six-dollar cappuccinos. Venture thirty miles due west, however, and you will find yourself on what is virtually another planet: a spooky cluster of rocky islands called the Farallones. Journalist Susan Casey was in her living room when she first glimpsed this strange place and its resident sharks, their dark fins swirling around a tiny boat in a documentary. These great whites were the alphas among alphas, the narrator said, some of them topping eighteen feet in length, and each fall they congregated here off the northern California coast. That so many of these magnificent and elusive animals lived in the 415 area code, crisscrossing each other under the surface like jets stacked in a holding pattern, seemed stunningly improbably–and irresistible.

Within a matter of months she was in a seventeen-foot Boston Whaler, being hoisted up a cliff face onto the barren surface of Southeast Farallon Island–part of the group known to nineteenth-century sailors as the “Devil’s Teeth.” There she joined the two biologists who study the sharks, bunking down in the island’s one habitable building, a haunted, 120-year-old house spackled with lichen and gull guano. Less than forty-eight hours later she had her first encounter with the famous, terrifying jaws and was instantly hooked. The Devil’s Teeth offers a rare glimpse into the lives of nature’s most mysterious predators, and of those who follow them. Here is a vivid dispatch from an otherworldly outpost, a story of crossing the boundary between society and an untamed place where humans are neither wanted nor needed.

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Sharkman by Steve Alten, narrated by Andrew Eiden

Publisher Summary:

Kwan Wilson was a high school basketball star living in San Diego when a tragic accident changed his life in ways no one could predict. He only looked at his phone for a few seconds, but that was all the time it took to crash his car into a telephone pole, killing his mother and paralyzing him from the waist down. After the accident his father, Admiral Douglas Wilson, sent him off to live with his maternal grandmother in South Florida. Kwan’s new principal, anticipating his depression andisolation, tells him about an internship at a genetics lab in Miami that is testing shark stem cells on rats in an effort to cure cancer and repair spinal injuries. Kwan declines until he learns the beautiful Anya Patel is an intern at the lab. When Kwan takes the internship, he learns that the good news is that the stem cells are curing their rat subjects; the bad news is it alters their DNA so much it kills them. But after a promising breakthrough is made, Kwan risks his life and injects himself with the experimental stem cells, forever altering his destiny and the lives of millions in the process.

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The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor, narrated by Emily Rankin

Publisher Summary:

A warm and wonderfully vivid novel about taking second chances—in life and in the sea.

One summer day on the beach in Florida, two extraordinary things happen to Maeve Donnelly. First, she is kissed by Daniel, the boy of her dreams. Then, she is bitten by a blacktip shark.

Eighteen years later, Maeve has thrown herself into her work as a world-traveling marine biologist discovering more about the minds of misunderstood sharks. But when Maeve returns home to the legendarily charming and eccentric Hotel of the Muses where she was raised by her grandmother, she finds more than just the blood orange sunsets and key lime pies she’s missed waiting for her.

While Maeve has always been fearless in the water, on land she is indecisive. A chance meeting on the beach with a plucky, irresistible little girl who is just as fascinated by the ocean as Maeve was growing up leaves her at a crossroads: Should she re-kindle her romance with Daniel, the first love she left behind when she dove into her work? Or indulge in a new romance with her colleague, Nicholas, who turns up in her hometown to investigate an illegal shark-finning operation?

Set against the intoxicating backdrop of palm trees, calypso bands, and perfect ocean views, The Shark Club is a story of the mysterious passions of one woman’s life: her first love and new love; the sea and sharks that inhabit it.

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STAFF PICK: A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

Title: A Nearly Normal Family
Author: M.T. Edvardsson
Narrators: Emily Watson, Richard Armitage, Georgia Maguire

If you haven’t heard of M.T. Edvardsson, the author of A Nearly Normal Family, then that is going to change really, really, soon. Edvardsson is not a new writer, and has written a number of critically acclaimed books in his native Sweden, both in the genres of thriller, and young adult. You can see these different aspects of his writing at play in A Nearly Normal Family, which is the first of his novels to be available in audio in Canada and the US.

A Nearly Normal Family initially appealed to me because of a question asked in the synopsis of the book: “How far would you go to protect your children?” As a parent, instantly you want to say “I’d do anything”, but then you start to think. Would you lie to the police? Lie in court? A Nearly Normal Family challenges these ideas through the story of eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell, a girl accused of the murder of a shady businessman. Her father is a pastor, her mother, a criminal defense attorney. They find their morality tested to the extreme as they, of course, defend their daughter, even in the face of evidence, and in the aftermath of their daughter’s strange behavior.

The book is told in three parts. The first section is from the perspective of Adam, the father, the second, from the perspective of Stella, and the third, from Ulrika, Stella’s mother. What I find incredibly interesting is that with each section, your perception of the characters changes. Without giving anything away, I found that when Adam narrated, I felt sympathy for him, and very little for Stella. When Stella narrated, I began to dislike her parents, and felt so sorry for her. It’s a roller-coaster of emotions!

While this is listed as a legal thriller, and there’s a lot of great courtroom drama, it’s also very much a domestic thriller, with a lot of flashbacks, and background about the family, and psychological twists and turns.

The narrators of this book are amazing! Emily Watson, Georgia Maguire, and Richard Armitage, all of whom are excellent actors and narrators, bring gravitas to this serious and dramatic listen.

If you’re a fan of legal thrillers, domestic thrillers, or anything with psychological twists and turns, then this will certainly appeal to you. I think we will be seeing much more of Edvardsson in the future,  if this amazing novel is anything to go by.

Publisher Summary: 

M.T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping legal thriller that forces the listener to consider: How far would you go to protect the ones you love? In this twisted narrative of love and murder, a horrific crime makes a seemingly normal family question everything they thought they knew about their life-and one another.

Eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell stands accused of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. What reason could she have to know a shady businessman, let alone to kill him?

Stella’s father, a pastor, and mother, a criminal defense attorney, find their moral compasses tested as they defend their daughter, while struggling to understand why she is a suspect. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Family asks the questions: How well do you know your own children? How far would you go to protect them?

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